All of the dolls in my collection that are based on TV shows have been included here on this page (Part One) and on the "TV Character Dolls, Part Two" page: http://mikeysdolls.blogspot.ca/p/tv-character-dolls-part-2.html
Other TV character dolls are shown on the "Talking Dolls" page: http://mikeysdolls.blogspot.ca/p/talking-dolls.html
Six Million Dollar Man, 12 inch dolls by Kenner, 1975 - 1977
The Bionic Woman, Six Million Dollar Man and Oscar Goldman dolls by Kenner
Here's a closer view of Oscar's face.Happy Days, 8 inch dolls by Mego, 1976
In 1976, Mego made a doll based on "the Fonz", also known as "Fonzie", from the TV sitcom Happy Days. The Fonz, of course, is played by actor Henry Winkler. The fourth season of Happy Days aired from Sept 1976 to March 1977, and was likely the period during which Mego's "Fonzie" doll was first available in stores. According to Wikipedia, it was during this season that Happy Days was #1 in the ratings.
Fonzie Mego in Mint condition. Ayyyy!
While the doll was in stores during season five (1977-78), the character of Fonzie would meet an alien named Mork (Robin Williams' break through roll), Scott Baio would join the cast as Chachi to become a major teenage celebrity, and the infamous "Jump the Shark" episode would air for the first time. Why Mego never made a Mork or Chachi doll to go with their Fonzie is beyond me!
Some of the earlier produced brown haired dolls wore a "leather" jacket that was slightly different from the later, standard version of the doll. The earlier jackets were made with brown fabric, which had a black film-like shiny coating over top. This thin film eventually peels off as the doll is played with and handled, but it does not crack the way the "leather" on the standard version of the jacket does when played with (shown above).
So far, the variations that I've noticed for the Fonzie Mego doll packaging includes:
Red Background Box (Dolls in these boxes have brown hair)
1) Black Mego Logo on front, white English and French text (this box might be exclusive to Canada)
2) White Mego logo on front, white English text (this box might be exclusive to the USA)
Yellow Background Box (Dolls in these boxes have either brown or black hair)
1) White Mego logo on front, white English text
Card with plastic bubble (Black hair version only)
1) Black English text with a white Mego logo
2) Black English text with a Wiggins Teape Logo, no Mego logo (this card is seen on the Mego Museum website)
3) Black Italian text only with a Herbert logo on the front and back, no Mego logo
I've also noticed a distinct variation of the carded Fonzie's shirt that has a tall collar. This version looks like the Fonz is wearing a turtle neck. In terms of collecting, none of the packaging or doll variations has made any one variation more valuable than another.
The Fonz Mego doll appeared on an episode of Happy Days!
To my knowledge, the Fonzie Mego has the distinction of being the only Mego doll that appeared in an episode of the TV series that it is based on!
During season six of Happy Days (1978-79), the Mego Fonzie doll was featured in a Halloween episode titled "The Evil Eye". In this episode, Al believes that he has been put under a curse by a witch (played by actress Mary Betten). At the climax of the episode, in order to convince Al that he's not cursed, Fonzie pretends to be under a curse himself when the witch uses the Mego Fonzie doll as a voodoo doll. At the beginning of the scene, the Fonz takes the doll out of his jacket, holds it up next to his face and says "It's a very good likeness". Then the witch takes it and turns the doll's head as the Fonz himself turns his head. Then she moves the doll around and throws it on the ground, as the Fonz moves around and falls to the floor. After it is revealed that Fonzie was just pretending to be under control of the witch, the old woman who played the witch asks Fonzie in earnest, "Can I keep the doll?" The episode aired October 31, 1978 while the Mego doll was still available in stores. (Although it was originally released in 1976, the Mego Fonzie doll was still being produced in 1978 and was included in the 1978 Mego catalogue, as shown at this link from the Mego Museum website: http://www.megomuseum.com/catalog/1978/happydays_001.shtml ).
Season 6 of Happy Days was released on DVD Dec 2, 2014, and includes "The Evil Eye" episode.
When the Fonzie doll first became popular in 1976, the Ideal toy company was quick to make a version of their Evel Kneivel chopper using gray and black plastic which they marketed as a generic toy motorcycle. This motorcycle was advertised in some store catalogues (Sears and JC Penny's) as being the motorcycle that went with Mego's Fonzie doll before Mego was able to get their own official "Fonzie's Motorcycle" produced. The Mego motorcycle, which has spinning action, is shown above in an original ad that I found online, while the ad for the ideal chopper is shown below. Mego responded by producing three TV commercials: Two featuring the Fonz doll and the official Fonzie Motorcycle, and the third commercial for the complete Happy Days toy line including the four dolls, Jalopy car, motorcycle, and the Garage playset. Ideal's black chopper can still be found today though it is quite rare.
http://www.sitcomsonline.com/memorabi.html This is a somewhat confusing image for a number of reasons. Firstly this not Fonzie's motorcycle, as this motorcycle toy was made by Ideal. Second, this doll has a different head sculpt than the one on the standard Fonzie Mego (the hair and face are quite different). The jacket and pants are slightly different as well (the jacket is attached in the front as though the zipper is half way up rather than being left completely open, and the pants are bell-bottoms). It's likely that this was another prototype, though it confuses me as to why a department store would be using prototypes for their catalogue photography. Perhaps one of Mego's distributors supplied the image and was also associated with Ideal in some way? Its a mystery to me!
The Mego Museum website has also posted photos of yet another prototype for the 8 inch Fonzie head: http://www.megomuseum.com/the-mego-fonzie-prototype/ Photos of an unproduced 12 inch Fonzie doll prototype are also found at the Mego Museum site.
but I do have the Chips motorcycle, as seen above with the Fonzie doll and below in the Chips section without the doll. You can see one of the original Mego TV commercials for Fonzie's motorcycle on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQAWAuQJf_8
Happy Days Gang
When the Fonzie doll was introduced in 1976 it was sold as a stand alone item. Mego later added three more characters to the Happy Days line: Richie, Potsy and Ralph (played on the show by Ron Howard, Anson Williams, and Don Most). I'm still missing Ralph from my collection. These additional Happy Days Mego dolls were never as popular as the Fonzie Mego and are less common than the Fonzie doll, though they are not anything close to being rare. As they were released after Fonzie, they have different bubble card packaging and were never sold in boxes.
The back of the Happy Days assortment cards shows the four dolls and Fonzie's motorcycle.
In addition to making Fonzie's Motorcycle Mego produced "Fonzie's Jalopy" (a hot-rod car). The car that Mego modeled this toy after was actually Ralph's car from the TV series, so a more appropriate title for the toy would have been "Ralph's Jalopy" or "Ralph's Hot-Rod", or even "Fonzie's Hot-Rod" as the Fonz would never drive a jalopy! In any case, this car is an awesome addition to the collection. Unfortunately it's another item that I don't have yet. The car was sold individually by itself and was also included with the garage playset.
"Fonzie's Garage" playset was the final item Mego produced for the Happy Days line of toys. Unfortunately this playset didn't look anything like how Fonzie's garage appeared on the TV show, so I find it to be a rather lazy effort from Mego. They took the time to model the car after Ralph's car, but didn't think Fonzie's garage warranted the same attention. Mego also never made Fonzie's mechanics outfit, which makes the garage playset even more odd. Mego's planet of the Apes Astronaut jumpsuit, or an Action Jackson jumpsuit would have done nicely as a mechanics outfit in grey fabric. So it wouldn't have been to much effort for Mego to throw in the mechanics outfit with the playset.
What about Chachi, Al, Mork, Laverne and Shirley?
For some reason, Mego never made a playset of Arnold's Diner, which seems a more logical choice than the garage playset. The character of Al would have also suited the collection nicely, and if a playset of Arnold's Diner was made the Al doll could have been included with it (which is what Mego did with their Emerald City playset and Wizard doll from the Wizard of Oz series). Al joined the show in the fourth season, while the Mego Fonzie doll was being introduced in stores.
It's also odd that Mego never expanded the series with characters such as Al, Chachi and Mork, all of which were very popular during the time that the Happy Days Mego collection was available in stores. I forget where I read this, but it's been suggested that the mediocre response by fans to the Richie, Potsy and Ralph dolls discouraged Mego from adding more characters.
However, considering that Scott Baio as Chachi and Robin Williams as Mork both became huge celebrities while the Mego Happy Days toy line was still in production, it's quite baffling as to why dolls of those characters weren't made by Mego. Williams even had his own spin-off TV series debut (Mork and Mindy, Sept 1978) while the Happy Days dolls were still in stores! These new TV stars came along just at the right time to boost the popularity of Happy Days and the sales of Mego products. I find that it would have made good business sense to expand the Mego series at that time with two or three new dolls to cash in on Baio and Williams' new fame. It seems that the folks at Mego missed a major marketing opportunity!
Yet, in 1978 Mego did produce dolls from another Happy Days spin-off, Laverne and Shirley. In fact, Mego even included the supporting characters Lenny and Squiggy! So this makes it even more bizarre that dolls of Chachi, Mork and Al were never made by Mego.
Unfortunately there was a major goof up with Mego's Laverne and Shirley dolls! While the folks at Mego did many things really well, sometimes the company did strange things too! It's understandable that competing toy companies would make their dolls different sizes, as in the case of Mattel's 9 inch Mork doll (made much later in 1980, shown below on this page). However, in 1978 Mego made their Laverne and Shirley doll series in a 12" format, making them incompatible with their own series of 8 inch Happy Days dolls...a series that was still on the market! As a huge Happy Days fan I find this goof up really frustrating as the Laverne and Shirley dolls would have been awesome in the 8 inch format.
According to the Mego Museum website, the dolls were planned to be 8" but at the last minute a decision was made to make them 12 inches. None the less, I still find these dolls are note worthy as collectables, though I don't yet have any of them in my collection. You can see pictures of the Laverne and Shirley dolls at the Mego Museum here: http://www.megomuseum.com/teevee/laverneandshirley.html
Welcome Back Kotter, 9 inch dolls by Mattel, 1976
In 1976, Mattel tried to compete with Mego's Happy Days Fonzie doll by producing a series of 9 inch "Welcome Back Kotter" dolls that were far less articulated or pose-able than an 8 inch Mego. The complete set is shown above: Washington, Mr. Kotter, Epstein, Barbarino and Horshack (played on the show by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Gabe Kaplan, Robert Hegyes, John Travolta and Ron Palillo). Mattel issued the Welcome Back Kotter dolls using the male doll body from their "Sunshine Family" series of dolls, that had first been produced in 1974 as a series of girls dolls. This explains why the dolls have very limited articulation and posability, and are a far different product than Mego's 8 inch dolls. That same year, Mattel used the same doll bodies for their "Space: 1999" series (which I don't have in my collection), and later for "Mork and Mindy" in 1980 (shown below).
A classroom playset/carry case was made for this series, which included the student's desks. A less common Sweat Hogs Motorcycle was also produced, though this was simply a recycled toy from Mattel's Big Jim doll series.
The Epstein doll shown here is not wearing the original shirt, which is light blue. I like the fact that Horshack comes with his lunchbox (unfortunately the card was cut off around the bubble by the previous owner). Unlike Mego's bubble card packaging which used a strong cardboard, these cards were made with a thinner cardboard and are quite fragile making it difficult to find undamaged cards. The leather-like vinyl jacket Mattel made for the Vinnie Barbarino doll did not have any issues with cracking or flaking the way Fonzie's jacket did. However, the vinyl fabric is also much more rigid and would not have accommodated the "thumbs up action" on the Fonzie doll.
Warning to collectors about the Vinnie's vinyl jacket: don't leave Vinnie's jacket in contact with any other plastics as the vinyl can sometimes react and damage other items, which melt and take on the pattern of the vinyl. I've had this happen to a Mego General Lee! The rubber arms on Big Jim dolls do this too, so I now keep any Mattel dolls wrapped individualy when I put them in storage.
Here is a view of the card artwork. Each character had their own catch-phrase in a balloon above the figure, yet the dolls do not have a talking mechanism. This was done just for the sake of package design. Washignton's card says "Let's Boogie". His basketball and shoes were the same as those used for Mattel's Big Jim series.
In 1976, the same year the Fonzie doll was first produced, the Mego company also produced another TV series line based on the action/adventure program "Starsky and Hutch". Three dolls from this line, Starsky, Hutch, and Huggy Bear, used the same pants as the Fonzie Mego, and two of those, Hutch and Huggy Bear, also used Fonzie's boots. The same boots were also later used in 1980 for Mego's Dukes of Hazzard doll series, on the main characters Bo and Luke Duke (shown below in thier own section). Therefore, in regards to the doll clothes, only the shirts, vest and jacket are unique to Mego's Starsky, Hutch and Fonzie dolls. Maybe they all shopped at the same store?
Mego's Starsky and Hutch from 1976. Starsky is shown here with Fonzie boots but he originally came with brown moccasins, which I'm missing. (They were the same moccasins previously used for Mego's Planet of the Apes series and the Wild West series).
In 1976 Remco produced a complete series of dolls based on McDonalds characters. Shown above is the 7.5 inch Ronald McDonald doll missing his costume, and the 6 inch Hamburglar doll missing the large brim for his hat. These were sold in toy stores rather than at McDonald's restaurants.
The dolls have a lever on the back to make the head turn side to side. Hamburglar's lever comes through the back of his cape.
In 2008, Huckleberry Toys produced this series of 8 inch McDonaldland dolls, which is based on the Remco McDonaldland dolls but they are not identical reissues. Shown above, L to R, is Captain Crook, Ronald McDonald, Hamburglar, Grimace, and Mayor McCheese. The back of the box is the same for all five and is shown below. All of the characters are plastic dolls with removable cloth costumes with the exception of Grimace, which is a stuffed toy.
Here's a look at the set out of the box.
Here's a comparison of the Remco Ronald and the Huckleberry Ronald. When placed side by side it's easy to see how different they are. Of course, one of the key differences is that the Huckleberry dolls do not have the lever on the back to control the heads, which the Remco dolls have.
Here's a comparison of the Remco Hamburglar and the Huckleberry Hamburglar. It looks like Huckleberry reused the same head but painted the eyes and mask differently. Huckleberry also made the tie out of fabric and sewed it all around the edge onto the costume, while Remco has a loose tie made of vinyl that is only attached at the top near the neck.
Charlie's Angels, 9 inch dolls by Hasbro, 1977
Sesame Street, assorted sizes of rag dolls by Knickerbocker, mid to late 1970s
Here are the many different sizes of Ernie and Bert rag dolls made by Knickerbocker in the 1970s: Bert came in 27", 15", 10", 7" and 4.5". Ernie came in 25", likely 14" (to match with 15" Bert), 9", 6", and 4". I'm missing the 14 inch Ernie doll. The 15 inch sized Bert and 14 inch Ernie were available as talking or non talking dolls. I recall a toy store here in Ottawa once had a giant sized version of the Bert rag doll that was about five feet tall sitting down! Likely there would have also been a matching Ernie. Needless to say, those giant sized dolls are quite rare. The clothes (shirt and pants) are removable from all of these dolls except for the smallest size.
This is the 14" Talking Count rag doll that went with the similar sized talking Bert and Ernie dolls. A talking Betty Lou doll was also made for this set. I've shown the Count below next to the 15" Bert for size comparison. Unfortunately my talking Count doll is broken and no longer talks, but originally it had a pull string on the back.
That's one! One missing pair of pants! Ah! Ah! Ah!
The next size down had some different variations as well. Here is a 7" Bert with removable shirt and pants next to a 6" Ernie with removable shirt only. The pants are sewn on as part of the doll. The last 6" Ernie (on the far right) has the clothes printed.
Chips, 8 inch dolls by Mego, 1978
Mego also produced a series of smaller action figures along with their 8 inch dolls.
Battlestar Galactica, 12 inch figure by Mattel, 1978
This is really a large size action figure rather than a doll, however it originally came with a tan fabric vest, so it sort of qualifies as a doll. Mattel produced a series of small Battlestar Galactica action figures based on the popular TV show. Two large size figures were made as part of this collection. Above is the Colonial Warrior which is simply a re-issue of Mattel's Captain Laser, originally produced between 1966 and 1968 as part of the Major Matt Mason series. In this case different colours of plastic were used but the figure is otherwise the same. In addition to this, Colonial Warrior was not an actual character on the program, which makes this figure a very poor effort from Mattel. (They did a much better job on the smaller action figures.) The other large size figure is the Cylon Centurian which somewhat resembles the villains on the TV show. This figure has the same body as the Colonial Warrior only in black plastic.
The Hardy Boys, 12 inch dolls by Kenner, 1978
Here is a link to a website showing the 1978 Kenner catalogue advertisement for the Hardy Boys dolls. The doll being used for Joe Hardy is clearly a prototype that was made with a slightly modified Luke Skywalker doll. The jacket shown on the doll is not the red one that was eventually produced, shown above. I find it interesting that the ads are marketing these dolls toward boys, showing a boy playing with the dolls while a girl watches, as it has always been my understanding that the Hardy Boys TV show had mainly a female fan base.
Mork and Mindy, 9 inch dolls by Mattel, 1980
In 1980, Mattel acquired the license to make dolls of the popular Happy Days spin off TV series Mork and Mindy. This was unfortunate as Mattel made their Mork doll 9 inches tall, which towered over Mego's 8 inch Fonzie making the dolls incompatible. In fairness to Mattel however, by 1980 Mego's Fonzie doll was no longer in production and was likely not available in stores. As with their Welcome Back Kotter series, Mattel re-used their Sunshine Family doll bodies for their Mork and Mindy set. And, once again, the dolls have very little articulation compared with a Mego.
Above are Mattel's Mindy and Mork dolls from 1980. Mindy is more difficult to find than Mork. Mork came with a "talking" back pack with a pull string that played several sayings such as "Hello I'm Mork from Ork, Na-No, Na-No" and "Shuzbut!" Mork was an odd character who would often sit on his head. Mattel was clever to deliberately package the doll upside down in its box.
It's unfortunate that Mattel's Mork is too tall for Mego's Fonzie! That, and Mork's head is really friggin' huge! It`s odd that Mattel didn`t make a Fonzie doll to go with their Mork doll in 1980, as Mego had stopped producing their doll in 1978. In January of 1980 Happy Days was about half way through its seventh season, with another four more seasons to come. Alas, it seems that matching Fonzie and Mork dolls just aren`t meant to be!
Sesame Street, 5 and 6 inch dolls by Knickerbocker, 1981
This is the back of the box showing the other dolls available in the set: Big Bird, Cookie Monster (with chef hat), Bert and Ernie. A closer view is shown below. Big bird was not made to scale with the other characters.
This series of dolls are not as common as the Ernie and Bert rag dolls (shown above). It's too bad more characters weren't included in this series. It would have been awesome to have The Count, Roosevelt Franklin, Super Grover, Sherlock Hemlock, Oscar the Grouch and others in this style. For example, Knickerbocker could have reused Ernie's body in purple plastic with black shoes for the Count, adding the new head sculpt and costume. Bert's body could have been reused for Roosevelt and Sherlock. Bert and Ernie's bodies could have also been used to make the construction workers, Biff and Sully. Cookie Monster's body could have been modified to make Herry Monster, Oscar, Frazzle or the Two-Headed Monster. That would have been cool!!!
Dukes Of Hazzard, 8 inch dolls by Mego, 1981
This is most likely the last, 8" doll series that Mego ever made. In 1981 Mego made six characters based on the Dukes of Hazzard TV show: Luke Duke, Bo Duke, Boss Hogg, (all shown above) and Daisy Duke. Later they added Coy Duke and Vance Duke to the series. It's very bizarre that Mego didn't make the famous "General Lee" car (a Dodge Charger) for this series as they had made one for their 3 3/4 inch figures. They also made the car for the Starsky and Hutch 8 inch dolls in 1976, and it could have simply been reissued in orange plastic for the Duke boys. Mego missed out big time, and so did Dukes of Hazzard fans!
Mego's Bo Duke doll from 1981 in mint condition on a very mangled package.
Next is Mego's Luke Duke doll from 1981 in mint condition on a card that's in much better condition than Bo's. Luke is a new addition to my Mego collection and finally completes my set of Bo and Luke! Considering the value of these Mego dolls today, it's very interesting to see the original K-mart price tags, which actually mark down the doll to clear it out! The 1980's price was $5.97, marked down to $4, and again down to $3. I'm not telling what I paid!
Here is Boss Hogg who comes with a plastic hat. Boss is my all-time favourite TV villain. It would have been nice to have an 8" Rosco Mego to go with him as Boss and Rosco were really a modern day Laurel and Hardy type of team. Figures Toy Company (the parent company of Classic TV Toys) announced in the fall of 2013 that they would be releasing their own set of Hazzard Mego-style dolls (all new designs), with Rosco included in the first series.
See more TV Character Dolls on the next page of this blog: "TV Character Dolls, Part Two"!